(“The Right Choice’ is a series of The Indian Express that addresses common questions, misconceptions, and uncertainties surrounding undergraduate admissions. You can read the stories here.)
– miraculous alienation
For school students preparing for college, the feel is fantastic and the dilemma is obvious. They realize that they are now free to choose, not only about what they eat, what to wear and who they can make friends with on campus, but also about what discipline they want to study and what college/university they want. To study, of course, with some limitations. Decisions about what to study, where to study and with whom to study are critical, both for students entering the university gates and for the university receiving students into its fold.
The university system has, in the past few years, been in a major disruption due to the coronavirus, undermining not only the efforts of those who worked so hard to maintain the status quo but also a lot of things we took for granted and depended on. However, disruption provides an opportunity for innovation, adaptation, and conservation.
Students should know that the space of the university they enter after grade 12 is a site whose raison d’être has long been to innovate, preserve and disseminate knowledge. For students, universities are the most desirable way to become educated, employable and enlightened. The brick-and-mortar university system, much like an institutional home rather than a shopping mall, is a powerful form of teaching and learning process for generations of young people. Students want to sit in a class with their peer groups, watch their teacher live, organize festivals and dance in “rock performances” and are therefore looking to be accepted into a traditional university.
course vs college
Students face one of the biggest dilemmas while they are admitted into the university for higher education, particularly in the University of Delhi, and this gives priority to the course over college. Science students have maximum impact for courses as they can move to non-science courses, if they prefer. This luxury is not available to students from an artistic or business background. Commerce students may transfer to some arts courses such as political science, economics, literature, etc., but arts students are restricted to their own available subjects in their own path. In general, a female student with a technical background chooses the major in which she scored the highest when counting in the top four. So, the choice of courses narrows the transition from science to commerce and into the arts stream.
Despite this narrowing, we still have a very large number of courses for a student to choose, after all a student cannot study more than one course. In the course, e.g. Undergraduate programme, however, the student can study different subjects, and with the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP), from the current year in Delhi University, as well as other universities, the student may take different subjects from different courses. In an effort to make the course structure interdisciplinary and interdisciplinary, NEP promises to give a wide range of options regarding research papers in different subjects. One will have to be very careful while exercising the logic of choosing between the wide range of options available in the course set menu.
A course, as mentioned above, is a major that holds a certain part of the larger system of knowledge available in academia. For example, the discipline of political science is that part of the larger system of knowledge that deals primarily with the ideas of human beings organizing themselves to form the state, civil society, and the market. Discipline concerns human behavior that responds to the rules, regulations, and traditions of society. Economics, in this respect, relates to that part of the knowledge system that explains human behavior in a given set of market institutions within a larger social and political framework.
Modern education is so designed that whatever system he chooses will or will shape accordingly behaviour, character and ability. The core occupation of the major remains with the student for life and helps shape career prospects. A subject of interest facilitates students to realize their potential, both at the academic and career levels. Journalism students, for example, make a good journalist if their preferred course is college-level journalism, though with exceptions.
On the other hand, the college provides a physical space for intellectual discourse between teachers, students and management. A good college is one that has a tradition of robust interactive processes defined by the interaction between academics, extra-curricular activities, and critical thinking. Students and faculty together, drawing strength from their disciplines, enrich the college in achieving its education goals and management must maintain a significant degree of academic freedom and institutional independence to keep this enrichment flowing.
The course is important because at the end of the day it helps in achieving the career ambition of the individual. All competitive exams are based on the skills – comprehension, interpretation and analysis – acquired while studying. The course should be given precedence over college for a brighter future. One, of course, is doubly blessed if one gets both, choice of college and course.
(The author is an associate professor who teaches public policy and politics at Ramjas College, University of Delhi)